Released in 1899, that is to say only 5 years after the start of the Dreyfus affair in a political context in which France is divided into two camps, the film reconstructs openly Dreyfusard sequentially in chronological order and the facts of the time. After the military judgment, silent images show Dreyfus in jail where he is tied to his bed at night. Then we see the suicide of Colonel Henry followed the return of Dreyfus in France by a stormy night. Once in Rennes , Dreyfus is preparing his defense. Georges Melies plays Labori master , one of two lawyers of Dreyfus. The film ends on a new Dreyfus trial, held in Rennes in 1899, where he is found guilty of treason but with "extenuating circumstances".
"This is the first movie ever censored for political reasons. The title refers to a historical event in France decades earlier in which a Jewish military officer was discharged for bribery, and it was alleged that he was framed due to anti-semitism. The status the event held in France at this time in history was probably about similar to the way Vietnam is viewed in the US today. Anyway, Melies made clear in the film that the officer (Dreyfus) was framed. There were riots at the theaters, and the film was shut down. Also interesting is that this is the first (ever) multi-scene film. Before this, they set up the camera, ran it until the film ran out (about 50 seconds), and showed it exactly as it came out of the camera." - iamsethh
Director: Georges Méliès
Writer: Georges Méliès
Stars: Georges Méliès
Also Known As: The Dreyfus Affair
Sound Mix: Silent
Color: Black and White